Master Naturalist training offered

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 14, 2023

Have you heard that “Virginia is for Lovers?” It’s true! And if you are a lover of Southside’s natural beauty and rich diversity of wildlife, flowers, trees, and geology, then mark your calendar and attend one of our upcoming information sessions on how to become a Virginia Master Naturalist. Applications for the basic training & certification course will be taken online through February 12th, and the course begins in March. Join friends and neighbors as we embark on lifelong learning about those proverbial birds, bees, flowers, trees — and more — while volunteering to protect our natural resources.

The Virginia Master Naturalist program is a statewide corps of volunteers providing education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within our communities. Virginia Master Naturalists train for certification in a broad range of naturalist areas such as plants, animals, insects, geology, climate, and ecology to name a few, and then maintain that certification by participating in local volunteer projects related to stewardship and conservation of natural resources. The program is managed by Virginia Tech, and each year contributes millions of dollars’ worth of volunteer effort across the state. In 2021, over 2,000 volunteers contributed nearly 180,000 service hours – a value of $5,189,047 million. Our new Southern Piedmont Chapter has already contributed over 500 hours of service in Southside Virginia and is actively encouraging Charlotte County residents to join us.

In partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tobacco Heritage Trail, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and Virginia State Parks, Southern Piedmont Master Naturalists have provided educational programs on topics including forestry, birding, native bees, herpetology, botany, and nature journaling. The chapter also partnered on local service projects, such as refurbishing an historic cemetery, trail maintenance, litter collection, and pollinator gardens, and the chapter participates in several citizen science projects. With three Virginia State Parks, 26 state and federal Wildlife Management Areas, and the new Southside Virginia Conservation and Recreation Complex (aka Falkland Farms), there is no finer a place to study nature and care for our natural resources.

The process of becoming a Certified Virginia Master Naturalist begins with enrolling in a basic training course and completing a volunteer service project. All adults are welcome regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, military status. The 2023 course runs from March through August and will meet evenings at the Estes Community Center in Chase City and some Saturdays at local field locations.

Learn more about the program, training, and volunteer at or speak to a Southern Piedmont Master Naturalist by calling (703) 942-6321 or (434) 755-1431.